The Thrill of the Fight is a lively and inexpensive boxing title with an emphasis on punching physics. It’s not a fight trainer, but it’s as close to one as you can get currently in VR. The 9 opponents the game offers are considerably challenging, each offering some new technique to overcome. Yet the game never manages to fall into boxing tropes of titles like Knockout League, which opt for over the top effects.
In The Thrill of the Fight, you get solid fighting physics for a true-to-life boxing experience. The title is also updated frequently with lots of mini-games and fixes that enhance the quality of life. The core of the game remains the same, though, and some of our readers may have moved on.
I’d like to invite you back to this incredible boxing title or share some reasons to dive in for the first time now that it’s on the Oculus Rift. Here are five fitness challenges I’ve used to reignite my passion for this title.
Challenge 1: One Hand the Thai Spider
To complete this challenge, you must win the fight with the Thai Spider by score or knockout.
First, let’s talk strategy. The Thai Spider is huge for most people, so he’s probably got reach on you. You need to figure out how to move in on him first, then you have to figure out how to attack in order to open his considerable guard.
The Thai Spider blocks with his arms and shoulders a lot, keeping his hands up near his face. This leaves his temples, and his solar plexus exposed. Those are your keys to getting in. You need to land a punch there, then step into him for a quick combo. Except you only have one hand!
To win, you will need to rely on a term we in the fighting game community call “Footsies,” but it’s the core of boxing. The idea is to place yourself in a situation where your opponent believes he can attack, but you have a carefully planned counter. Bruce Lee called this a “Stop Hit”, or “a timed hit made against the adversary at the same time he is making an attack.” Remember, he is also looking for stop hit opportunities on you.
Shift your stances so you’re throwing more power into your well-timed strikes. No switching hands if you want to keep this honest! Choose either your left or your right only.
Challenge 2: Score 5 Strikes with Force Over 3k
The gym has a heavy bag and a punching dummy set up for you to practice your punching form, and to review the raw power of your strikes. Bruce Lee believed that speed and timing were complementary, and it’s true that you simply feel the right punch. Much of this practice has to do with training your body on how to throw a punch with maximum force for minimal effort, which is what the numbers will show.
Newbies will find the heavy bag an easy option to begin this challenge because it moves as you strike it. Time your blow properly and the momentum of the bag will cause your force to be much higher. Foot placement also makes a difference, as an on-balance strike allows you to shift your weight into it for maximum efficiency.
I find hooks are most useful to me when completing this challenge on the dummy, and I aim for the chin or the temples when I punch. I like this challenge because it gets me thinking about form and efficiency. Your body only has so much energy, so you need to apply it with intent in a match if you want to win.
Challenge 3: 130 HPM Average Over 30 Seconds on the Speed Bag
To complete this challenge, simply keep the pacing of your speedbag at or above 130 for 30 seconds. For some, this challenge may be too easy. Others may find it way too hard, so please adjust your numbers accordingly and work up to and beyond this number as you see fit. The small speed bag is designed to train a boxer’s hand-eye coordination, speed, and reaction times. To get a good rhythm going, you need to find a natural pacing. Check out how Pacquiao does it in the video above.
There’s no single skill a speed bag develops, and it’s viewed as a boxing relic by some coaches these days. Others swear that it trains fighters to keep hands up, and provides rhythm to punch work.
We think the natural resistance, coupled with the goal setting and the timing aspect, is enough to keep many of us focused on losing weight and training our bodies. Plus, you can’t ask for a better shoulder workout.
Challenge 4: Knock the Trainer Out in 60 Seconds
I’ve been trying to perfect this challenge for about a month now. The Thrill of the Fight’s Trainer’s AI has changed a lot, but he’s always been a tank. Now he puts up a fight, but he was just standing there for a long time. During those days, I was looking for methods to power punch and poke him into putting him where I wanted him.
The key to knocking out your trainer in 60 seconds is not to wail on him like you might think. He has a strong guard, and he’s wearing good padding. To win, you need to clock him in all of his critical spots, and you need to time your punches well. If you focused on the 3K challenge from above, you will know where to place your punches. Use jabs to distance yourself and avoid any counter punches, which diminish your incoming attack strength.
Timing and speed are critical to winning this fight. You might find it difficult to stand by the time you’re finally able to get him down though.
Challenge 5: Defeat All Opponents in a Single Session
This challenge is my toughest challenge personally, but I know there are players out there who can do it. I’ve grabbed a video from a community member who critiques his own fights with play by plays to give you some idea of the skills involved. To beat all of your opponents in a single session, you may have to use another strategy from the fighting game community known as “turtling.” This concept means to play defensively to maintain your edge in the score.
Another way to phrase this is to play the Mayweather game. Literally outbox your opponent, with well-placed strikes that earn score. Go for knockouts when you can, but swinging hard at someone’s guard just tires you out. Avoid the temptation to wail on early opponents with power punches for the same reason. It might be ok for the first few fights but by the fifth or the seventh, you will find it hard to raise your arms.
You need to stay hydrated and point a fan at your general play space to prevent your body from overheating. Do not try this challenge on a day with record-breaking heat.
The game has a lot of natural downtimes, with breaks between rounds and loading time between opponents. Your heart rate should never really dip below 100, so it’s ok to take a breather before jumping back in. Avoid extended downtime. If your sweat starts to dry, or your heart rate drops, you’ve rested too long.
I recommend working yourself up to this challenge with tougher opponents like The Thai Spider. You will become a better fighter overall, and learn how to better expend your energy.
Most importantly, have fun! This challenge is pretty tough and you should feel very accomplished if you can do it!
So, VRFI readers, what’s your scorecard looking like?